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August 19, 2006
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has invited Percy Sonn, the ICC president, to spend a few days in Colombo and assess for himself the security arrangements that are in place for touring teams. Sonn, a former president of Cricket South Africa, is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on August 20 and spend about four days as the guest of Sri Lanka Cricket.
"I have invited Percy to come and see for himself the security arrangements that are in place for India and judge for himself whether they are adequate," said Jayantha Dharmadasa, the interim committee chairman of SLC.
Dharmadasa said that the Sri Lankan board will make use of Sonn's visit to press forward their case towards gaining compensation from South Africa following the cancellation of the Unitech Cup tri-series which was scheduled to be held in Colombo from August 14-29. The cancellation came about when South Africa pulled out of the tournament and returned home citing security concerns following a bomb blast near their hotel in Colombo while India, the third team, decided to stay back.
Although the South Africans were assured of the highest security protection - normally given only to heads of state - they decided to return home basing their reasons on two similar security reports which said the Sri Lankan government was unable to guarantee the physical security of the team.
Dharmadasa said that although Cricket South Africa had stated that both Boards could reschedule the tournament there was no way that Sri Lanka could have another tri-series involving India because of their international commitments.
"India's presence is vital for the fact that it not only boosts television audiences around the world but also nets in a huge amount of money from television broadcasters," said Dharmadasa. Sri Lanka Cricket was due to receive US$11 million from Ten Sports who had bagged the television and broadcasting rights for the tri-series.
The ICC's media manager Brian Murgatroyd told Cricinfo early this week that it was not the role of the ICC to judge South Africa on their decision to pull out of the tri-series and that it was upto the respective cricket boards to reschedule the series if South Africa are to avoid being fined.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee will have a new secretary following the resignation of Adel Hashim on August 15. Hashim had stated 'personal reasons' for his resignation. Board sources have said that the new secretary will be appointed by the Sports Minister. Former Sri Lanka cricketers Jayananda Warnaweera, Sidath Wettimuny and Ashantha de Mel are those in the running for the post.